Should student drivers complete a minimum learning period before taking a practical test?

The UK thinks so
by Drei Laurel | Feb 10, 2021
PHOTO: Jason Tulio

See that subcompact sedan that figured in a mishap trying to squeeze into a lane? How about the genius who backed into another car trying to park in reverse? “Man, Filipino drivers are dumb,” you’re probably thinking.

We feel your frustration. But the thing is, bad drivers aren’t bad because they’re stupid. Many are just plain inexperienced or have formed bad driving habits due to lack of training. One possible fix? Require student drivers to gain experience before being allowed to take a practical test.

New approach to teachning new drivers

In the UK, a recent study by IAM RoadSmart found that 68% of Brits are in favor of implementing a 12-month supervised minimum learning period for newbie drivers before they are permitted to take a practical exam. What’s more, 65% of those included in the survey support the idea of post-test training, too.

 “A lifetime of safe driving starts by gaining the right experience behind the wheel. Even the [UK] government’s own statistics show that one in five new drivers crash within their first year on the road, so a longer learning period can only help make our roads safer for all road users,” IAM Roadsmart director of policy and research Neil Greig said in a statement.

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Not just for new drivers

“Lessons learned at the start of your driving career can pay dividends, and if new drivers had longer to experience all road types, in all weathers, and at all times of the day and night before their test, the benefits can only increase. Experienced license holders need to update their observation, anticipation, and planning skills, too, to ensure they remain safe throughout their driving and riding careers.”

A minimum learning period? Now that sounds like an idea. Just a quick drive down EDSA will show a ton of local motorists could have benefitted from such a policy. Do you think this is something worth trying here in the Philippines, and if so, how should it be implemented?

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PHOTO: Jason Tulio
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